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Former CEC says media has to be accountable

Even as the first phase of polling for General Elections 2019 got underway on April 11, the Press Institute of India organised a discussion focused on the elections, the challenges, and the role of the media. It was a packed house with many journalists from print, television and online attending and asking questions. Calling for strong action against persons interrupting electoral processes, former Chief Election Commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthy said that the Election Commission should temporarily disqualify the person, be it a voter or a candidate. Krishnamurthy acknowledged the contribution of the media in the past and observed that the media has to be accountable in its reportage.

Naresh Gupta, former Tamil Nadu chief electoral officer, highlighted the menace of paid news and surrogate advertisement in the media which was quite difficult to check. Senior journalist S. Murari, while providing a broad sweep about political events that had occurred ahead of elections over the years, contended that the functions of the Election Commission were today increasingly being questioned and that the Commission had perhaps compromised its independence in some ways. T. Ramakrishnan, associate editor, The Hindu, set the tone for the discussion and introduced the speakers. Press Institute of India Director Sashi Nair welcomed the gathering.